Thrice – Major/Minor

written by: October 6, 2011
Thrice - Major/Minor Release Date: September 20, 2011


When it comes to transition and morphing of music, Thrice is cornering the market in a change in trademark sound. They’ve made an eight-course meal out of their record releases and have kept their fans guessing at almost every turn. In something of a less bold note, Thrice turned out their latest record, Major/Minor as more of a b-side release of their last album, Beggars (2009), than a complete shift in direction.

Their move throughout the musical world can be paralleled with the all-too-famous grunge act Pearl Jam. They also transitioned from album to album with shifts in sound, delivery and message over a 20-year journey around the multilayered depths of the music industry. With all they have in common, there is something Thrice isn’t bringing to the table that Pearl Jam can do, even today—add depth to their sound.

As Major/Minor chugs along, its sound is canned installments of pre-processed rock ‘n’ roll, sounding nothing short of just plain normal. They’ve shifted from skater-punk thrash on a lot of their earlier work, to an ambient and progressive middle base. Then rounding out with something of a blues-rock heard on Beggars. What makes this latest record so canned? There is no real identifiable sound, nothing that reaches out and grabs the listener.

Lead singer and guitarist Dustin Kensrue’s voice rumbles outward like a bar band vocalist’s. He’s supported with a pounding drum and bass backing that doesn’t sound anything different than the rock radio-station crap motorists commute home to on their “drive at five” rush-hour rock block. Case in point, “Treading Paper” and “Promises” are just two examples of how this album could fit easily into a block of radio tunes, and no one would be the wiser as to who it is.

There is more to this album than just what hits the ear immediately. Kensrue takes his Christian background and creates an air of fellowship through his lyricism.

Although his music is intertwined with the world of The Good Book, it doesn’t come off too preachy, and as a saving grace might be the only thing truly wholesome about the album. This key element has been a reoccurring theme throughout the almost decade and a half they’ve been putting out music and is a cornerstone for their sound and message.

Album opener “Yellow Belly” echoes with some moments of good ol’-fashioned rock, but there is nothing incredibly notable about it. It has a guitar backing that reeks of that heard from the guys in Filter, and the vocals hold true to the same suit. It speeds and slows and comes and goes like the pointless one-hit-wonder music that polluted the airwaves in the late 1990s.

As a rule of thumb, Thrice kept this album as close to their last as they could. It doesn’t keep to their recipe of bounding over music genres to get their point across, but it holds on like it should be part two of an anthology. With that in mind, if their fan base was expecting something different this go around, they were sorely disappointed and will have to wait for the next release to see what happens next. Changing it up can be fruitful for some bands. For example, look at the wide swath of fans Pearl Jam has picked up during the years. There’s still plenty of time to keep the seas of change going, unless you believe the world will end in 2012.

Thrice – Major/Minor tracklist:

  1. “Yellow Belly”
  2. “Promises”
  3. “Blinded”
  4. “Cataracts”
  5. “Call It in the Air”
  6. “Treading Paper”
  7. “Blur”
  8. “Words in the Water”
  9. “Listen Through Me”
  10. “Anthology”
  11. “Disarmed”